The birds-of-paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. The majority of species are found in eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and eastern Australia. The family has 42 species in 15 genera. The members of this family are perhaps best known for the plumage of the males of the sexually dimorphic species (the majority), in particular the highly elongated and elaborate feathers extending from the beak, wings, tail or head. For the most part they are confined to dense rainforest habitat. The diet of all species is dominated by fruit and to a lesser extent arthropods. The birds-of-paradise have a variety of breeding systems, ranging from monogamy to lek-type polygamy.
|Raggiana bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana)|
15 genera, 42 species
For many years the birds-of-paradise were treated as being closely related to the bowerbirds. Today while both are treated as being part of the Australasian lineage Corvida, the two are now thought to be only distantly related. The closest evolutionary relatives of the birds-of-paradise are the crow and jay family Corvidae, the monarch flycatchers Monarchidae and the Australian mudnesters Struthideidae.
A 2009 study examining the mitochondrial DNA of all species to examine the relationships within the family and to its nearest relatives estimated that the family emerged 24 million years ago, earlier than previous estimates. The study identified five clades within the family, and placed the split between the first clade, which contains the monogamous manucodes and paradise-crow, and all the other birds-of-paradise, to be 10 million years ago. The second clade includes the parotias and the King of Saxony bird-of-paradise. The third clade provisionally contains several genera, including Seleucidis, the Drepanornis sicklebills, Semioptera, Ptiloris and Lophorina, although some of these are questionable. The fourth clade includes the Epimachus sicklebills, Paradigalla and the astrapias. The final clade includes the Cicinnurus and the Paradisaea birds-of-paradise.
The exact limits of the family have been the subject of revision as well. The three species of satinbird (the genera Cnemophilus and Loboparadisea) were treated as a subfamily of the birds-of-paradise, Cnemophilinae. In spite of differences in the mouth, foot morphology and nesting habits they remained in the family until a 2000 study moved them to a separate family closer to the berrypeckers and longbills (Melanocharitidae). The same study found that the Macgregor's bird-of-paradise was actually a member of the large Australasian honeyeater family. In addition to these three species, a number of systematically enigmatic species and genera have been considered potential members of this family. The two species in the genus Melampitta, also from New Guinea, have been linked with the birds-of-paradise, but their relationships remain uncertain, more recently being linked with the Australian mudnesters. The silktail of Fiji has been linked with the birds-of-paradise many times since its discovery, but never formally assigned to the family. Recent molecular evidence now places the species with the fantails.
Hybrid birds-of-paradise may occur when individuals of different species, that look similar and have overlapping ranges, confuse each other for their own species and crossbreed.
When Erwin Stresemann realised that hybridisation among birds-of-paradise might be an explanation as to why so many of the described species were so rare, he examined many controversial specimens and, during the 1920s and 1930s, published several papers on his hypothesis. Many of the species described in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are now generally considered to be hybrids, though some are still subject to dispute; their status is not likely to be settled definitely without genetic examination of museum specimens.
Birds-of-paradise are closely related to the corvids. Birds-of-paradise range in size from the king bird-of-paradise at 50 g (1.8 oz) and 15 cm (5.9 in) to the curl-crested manucode at 44 cm (17 in) and 430 g (15 oz). The male black sicklebill, with its long tail, is the longest species at 110 cm (43 in). In most species, the tails of the males are larger and longer than the female, the differences ranging from slight to extreme. The wings are rounded and in some species structurally modified on the males in order to make sound. There is considerable variation in the family with regard to bill shape. Bills may be long and decurved, as in the sicklebills and riflebirds, or small and slim like the Astrapias. As with body size bill size varies between the sexes, although species where the females have larger bills than the male are more common, particularly in the insect eating species.
Plumage variation between the sexes is closely related to breeding system. The manucodes and paradise-crow, which are socially monogamous, are sexually monomorphic. So are the two species of Paradigalla, which are polygamous. All these species have generally black plumage with varying amounts of green and blue iridescence. The female plumage of the dimorphic species is typically drab to blend in with their habitat, unlike the bright attractive colours found on the males. Younger males of these species have female-like plumage, and sexual maturity takes a long time, with the full adult plumage not being obtained for up to seven years. This affords the younger males the protection from predators of more subdued colours, and also reduces hostility from adult males.
The centre of bird-of-paradise diversity is the large island of New Guinea; all but two genera are found in New Guinea. The two that are not are the monotypic genera Lycocorax and Semioptera, both of which are endemic to the Maluku Islands, to the west of New Guinea. Of the riflebirds in the genus Ptiloris, two are endemic to the coastal forests of eastern Australia, one occurs in both Australia and New Guinea, and one is only found in New Guinea. The only other genus to have a species outside New Guinea is Phonygammus, one representative of which is found in the extreme north of Queensland. The remaining species are restricted to New Guinea and some of the surrounding islands. Many species have highly restricted ranges, particularly a number of species with restricted habitat types such as mid-montane forest (like the black sicklebill) or island endemics (like the Wilson's bird-of-paradise).
The majority of birds-of-paradise live in tropical forests, including rainforest, swamps and moss forest, nearly all of them solitary tree dwellers. Several species have been recorded in coastal mangroves. The southernmost species, the paradise riflebird of Australia, lives in sub-tropical and temperate wet forests. As a group the manucodes are the most plastic in their habitat requirements, with in particular the glossy-mantled manucode inhabiting both forest and open savanna woodland. Mid-montane habitats are the most commonly occupied habitat, with thirty of the forty species occurring in the 1000–2000 m altitudinal band.
The diet of the birds-of-paradise is dominated by fruit and arthropods, although small amounts of nectar and small vertebrates may also be taken. The ratio of the two food types varies by species, with fruit predominating in some species, and arthropods dominating the diet in others. The ratio of the two will affect other aspects of the behaviour of the species, for example frugivorous species tend to feed in the forest canopy, whereas insectivores may feed lower down in the middle storey. Frugivores are more social than the insectivores, which are more solitary and territorial.
Even the birds-of-paradise that are primarily insect eaters will still take large amounts of fruit; and the family is overall an important seed disperser for the forests of New Guinea, as they do not digest the seeds. Species that feed on fruit will range widely searching for fruit, and while they may join other fruit eating species at a fruiting tree they will not associate with them otherwise and will not stay with other species long. Fruit are eaten while perched and not from the air, and birds-of-paradise are able to use their feet as tools to manipulate and hold their food, allowing them to extract certain capsular fruit. There is some niche differention in fruit choice by species and any one species will only consume a limited number of fruit types compared to the large choice available. For example, the trumpet manucode and crinkle-collared manucode will eat mostly figs, whereas the Lawes's parotia focuses mostly on berries and the greater lophorina and raggiana bird-of-paradise take mostly capsular fruit.
Most species have elaborate mating rituals, with birds in the genus Paradisaea using a lek-type mating system. Others, such as the Cicinnurus and Parotia species, have highly ritualised mating dances. Across the family (Paradisaeidae), female preference is incredibly important in shaping the courtship behaviors of males and, in fact, drives the evolution of ornamental combinations of sound, color, and behavior. Males are polygamous in the sexually dimorphic species, but monogamous in at least some of the monomorphic species. Hybridisation is frequent in these birds, suggesting the polygamous species of bird of paradise are very closely related despite being in different genera. Many hybrids have been described as new species, and doubt remains regarding whether some forms, such as Rothschild's lobe-billed bird of paradise, are valid.
Birds-of-paradise build their nests from soft materials, such as leaves, ferns, and vine tendrils, typically placed in a tree fork. The typical number of eggs in each clutch varies among the species and is not known for every species. For larger species, it is almost always just one egg, but smaller species may produce clutches of 2–3 eggs. Eggs hatch after 16–22 days, and the young leave the nest at between 16 and 30 days of age.
Societies of New Guinea often use bird-of-paradise plumes in their dress and rituals, and the plumes were popular in Europe in past centuries as adornment for ladies' millinery. Hunting for plumes and habitat destruction have reduced some species to endangered status; habitat destruction due to deforestation is now the predominant threat.
Best known are the members of the genus Paradisaea, including the type species, the greater bird-of-paradise, Paradisaea apoda. This species was described from specimens brought back to Europe from trading expeditions in the early sixteenth century. These specimens had been prepared by native traders by removing their wings and feet so that they could be used as decorations. This was not known to the explorers, and in the absence of information many beliefs arose about them. They were briefly thought to be the mythical phoenix. The often footless and wingless condition of the skins led to the belief that the birds never landed but were kept permanently aloft by their plumes. The first Europeans to encounter their skins were the voyagers in Ferdinand Magellan's circumnavigation of the Earth. Antonio Pigafetta wrote that "The people told us that those birds came from the terrestrial paradise, and they call them bolon diuata, that is to say, 'birds of God"." This is the origin of both the name "bird of paradise" and the specific name apoda – without feet. An alternate account by Maximilianus Transylvanus used the term Mamuco Diata, a variant of Manucodiata, which was used as a synonym for birds-of-paradise up to the 19th century.
In recent years the availability of pictures and videos about birds of paradise in the internet has raised interest of birdwatchers around the world. A lot of them fly to West Papua to watch various species of birds of paradise from Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) and Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) in Raja Ampat to Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor), Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus), King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), and Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes magnificus) in Susnguakti forest.
This activity significantly reduces the number of local villagers who are involved in the hunting of paradise birds.
Hunting of birds of paradise has occurred for a long time, possibly since the beginning of human settlement. It is a peculiarity that among the most frequently-hunted species, males start mating opportunistically even before they grow their ornamental plumage. This may be an adaptation maintaining population levels in the face of hunting pressures, which have probably been present for hundreds of years.
The naturalist, explorer and author Alfred Russel Wallace spent six years in what was then called The Malay Archipelago (published 1869), shooting, collecting and describing many specimens of animals and birds including the great, king, twelve-wired, superb, red and six-shafted birds of paradise.
Hunting to provide plumes for the millinery trade was extensive in the late 19th and early 20th century, but today the birds enjoy legal protection and hunting is only permitted at a sustainable level to fulfill the ceremonial needs of the local tribal population. In the case of Pteridophora plumes, scavenging from old bowerbird bowers is encouraged.
Bird of Paradise is a 1932 American pre-Code American romantic adventure drama film directed by King Vidor, starring Dolores del Río and Joel McCrea. It was released by RKO Radio Pictures.
In 1960, the film entered the public domain in the United States because the claimants did not renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication per the Copyright Act of 1909.Blue bird-of-paradise
The blue bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi) is a medium-sized bird-of-paradise.
Regarded by some ornithologists as the loveliest of all birds, the blue bird-of-paradise was discovered by Carl Hunstein in 1884. The scientific name commemorates the ill-fated Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria.
Due to ongoing habitat loss, limited range, small population size and, in some areas, by hunting for its highly prized plumes, the rare blue bird-of-paradise is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.Bronze parotia
The bronze parotia (Parotia berlepschi), also known as the Foja parotia, Berlepsch's parotia or Berlepsch's six-wired bird-of-paradise, is a bird-of-paradise. It resembles and is often considered to be a subspecies of the Queen Carola's parotia, but it differs from the latter by having more heavily bronzed plumage and no eye ring.
The specific name commemorates a 19th-century German ornithologist Hans von Berlepsch.Emperor bird-of-paradise
The emperor bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea guilielmi), also known as emperor of Germany's bird-of-paradise, is a species of bird-of-paradise.
The emperor bird-of-paradise is endemic to Papua New Guinea. It is distributed in hill forests of the Huon Peninsula. The diet consists mainly of fruits, figs and arthropods.
The name commemorates the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, Wilhelm II of Germany. In January 1888, the emperor bird-of-paradise was the last bird-of-paradise discovered by Carl Hunstein, who also found the blue bird-of-paradise on his journeys. These two species, along with the red bird-of-paradise, are the only Paradisaea that perform inverted display.
Due to ongoing habitat loss, limited range and overhunting in some areas, the emperor bird-of-paradise is evaluated as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.Goldie's bird-of-paradise
The Goldie's bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea decora) is a species of bird-of-paradise.
Endemic to Papua New Guinea, the Goldie's bird-of-paradise is distributed in the hill forests of Fergusson and Normanby Island of the D'Entrecasteaux Archipelago, eastern Papuan Islands. The diet consists mainly of fruits.
The name commemorates the Scottish collector Andrew Goldie, who discovered the bird in 1882.
Due to ongoing habitat loss, limited range and overhunting in some areas, the Goldie's bird-of-paradise is evaluated as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.Greater bird-of-paradise
The greater bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea apoda) is a bird-of-paradise in the genus Paradisaea.
Carl Linnaeus named the species Paradisaea apoda, or "legless bird-of-paradise", because early trade-skins to reach Europe were prepared without wings or feet by the indigenous New Guinean people; this led to the misconception that these birds were beautiful visitors from paradise that were kept aloft by their plumes and never touched the earth until death.Heliconia
Heliconia, derived from the Greek word Ἑλικώνιος (helikṓnios), is a genus of flowering plants in the family Heliconiaceae. Most of the ca 194 known species are native to the tropical Americas, but a few are indigenous to certain islands of the western Pacific and Maluku. Many species of Heliconia are found in the tropical forests of these regions. Several species are widely cultivated as ornamentals, and a few are naturalized in Florida, Gambia and Thailand. Common names for the genus include lobster-claws, toucan beak, wild plantains or false bird-of-paradise. The last term refers to their close similarity to the bird-of-paradise flowers (Strelitzia). Collectively, these plants are also simply referred to as heliconias.King bird-of-paradise
The king bird-of-paradise (Cicinnurus regius) is a passerine bird of the Paradisaeidae (Bird-of-paradise) family. It is the sole member of the genus Cicinnurus.The king bird-of-paradise is distributed throughout lowland forests of New Guinea and nearby islands. The diet consists mainly of fruits and arthropods.
An extraordinary courtship display is performed by the male with a series of tail swinging, fluffing of the white abdominal feathers that makes the bird look like a cottonball, and acrobatic movements of their elongated tail wires.
Widespread and a common species throughout their large habitat range, the king bird-of-paradise is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.
The first captive breeding of this species was by Dr. Sten Bergman of Sweden in 1958. He was awarded a commemorative medal by the Foreign Bird League to mark this achievement.King of Saxony bird-of-paradise
The King of Saxony bird-of-paradise (Pteridophora alberti) is a bird in the bird-of-paradise family (Paradisaeidae). It is the only member in the monotypic genus Pteridophora. It is endemic to montane forest in New Guinea.Lesser bird-of-paradise
The lesser bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea minor) is a bird-of-paradise in the genus Paradisaea.Lophorina
Lophorina or superb bird-of-paradise is a genus of birds in the family Paradisaeidae.
The genus contains three species:
Greater lophorina, Lophorina superba, the sole species in the genus until 2018
Crescent-caped lophorina, Lophorina niedda, elevated from sub-species to species in 2018
Lesser lophorina, Lophorina minorMagnificent bird-of-paradise
The magnificent bird-of-paradise (Diphyllodes magnificus) is a species of bird-of-paradise.
The magnificent bird-of-paradise is distributed amongst the hill and mid-mountain forests of New Guinea and surrounding islands. Their diet consists mainly of fruits. Like most members of the family Paradisaeidae, the male is polygamous and performs an elaborate courtship display.
A widespread and common species throughout their large range, the magnificent bird-of-paradise is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They are listed on Appendix II of CITES.Outline of birds
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to birds:
Birds (class Aves) – winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrate animals. There are around 10,000 living species, making them the most varied of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) ostrich.Paradisaea
The genus Paradisaea consists of seven species of birds-of-paradise (family Paradisaeidae). The genus is found on the island of New Guinea as well as the nearby islands groups of the Aru Islands, D'Entrecasteaux Islands and Raja Ampat Islands. The species inhabit a range of forest types from sea level to mid-montane forests. Several species have highly restricted distributions, and all species have disjunct distributions. A 2009 study examining the mitochondrial DNA of the family found that the Paradisaea birds-of-paradise were in a clade with the genus Cicinnurus. It showed that the blue bird-of-paradise was a sister taxon to all the other species in this genus.All are large, and sexually dimorphic. The plumage of the males includes characteristic grossly elongated flank plumes (which emerge from beneath the wings and strictly speaking are flank plumes pectoral plumes), and a pair of wire-like feathers emerging from the end of the tail. The flank plumes are used during breeding displays.The name, Paradisaea, is the Latinized form of "paradise". The local name in Indonesia is cenderawasih.Raggiana bird-of-paradise
The Raggiana bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana), also known as Count Raggi's bird-of-paradise, is a large bird in the bird-of-paradise family Paradisaeidae.
It is distributed widely in southern and northeastern New Guinea, where its name is kumul. It is also known as cenderawasih. As requested by Count Luigi Maria D'Albertis, the epithet raggiana commemorates the Marquis Francis Raggi of Genoa.
The Raggiana bird-of-paradise is the national bird of Papua New Guinea. In 1971 this species, as Gerrus paradisaea, was made the national emblem and was included on the national flag. 'The Kumuls' ("birds-of-paradise" in Tok Pisin) is also the nickname of the country's national rugby league team.Red bird-of-paradise
The red bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rubra, also cendrawasih merah), is a bird-of-paradise in the genus Paradisaea, family Paradisaeidae.Strelitzia
Strelitzia is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. It belongs to the plant family Strelitziaceae. The genus is named after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. A common name of the genus is bird of paradise flower / plant, because of a resemblance of its flowers to birds-of-paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower and is featured on the reverse of the 50 cent coin. It is the floral emblem of the City of Los Angeles; two of the species, Strelitzia nicolai and Strelitzia reginae, are frequently grown as house plants.Twelve-wired bird-of-paradise
The twelve-wired bird-of-paradise (Seleucidis melanoleucus) is a medium-sized, approximately 33 cm (13 in) long, velvet black and yellow bird-of-paradise. The male has a red iris, long black bill and rich yellow plumes along his flanks. From the rear of these plumes emerge twelve blackish, wire-like filaments, which bend back near their bases to sweep forward over the bird's hindquarters. The female is a brown bird with black-barred buffy underparts. Their feet are strong, large-clawed and pink in color.
The display dance of the Twelve-wired bird of paradise is called “Wire-wipe Display” and it is performed by males to attract females by showing their flank plumes and bare pigmented thighs. Males use their 12 flank plume ‘wires’ to make contact with the female by brushing across the female's face and foreparts. The sole representative of the monotypic genus Seleucidis, the twelve-wired bird-of-paradise is a bird of lowland forests. The male displays on an exposed vertical perch with his breast-shield flared. Their diet consists mainly of fruits and arthropods in addition to frogs, insects, and nectar.They are found in flat lowlands and swamp forests, particularly throughout New Guinea and Salawati Island, Indonesia. The twelve-wired bird-of-paradise is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It has not been easy to breed them in captivity. The first successful captive breeding program was at Singapore's Jurong Bird Park, in 2001.Wilson's bird-of-paradise
The Wilson's bird-of-paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) is a species of passerine bird of the family Paradisaeidae.The first footage of the Wilson's bird-of-paradise ever to be filmed was recorded in 1996 by David Attenborough for the BBC documentary Attenborough in Paradise. He did so by dropping leaves on the forest floor, which irritated the bird into clearing them away.
Birds-of-paradise (family: Paradisaeidae)